HARRISBURG —According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, new covid cases in Monroe County last week once again multiplied.
In the seven-day period ending July 22, the 80 new cases in the county were 5.3 times the 15 new cases only two weeks earlier. Last week that growth was 2.5 times the prior week’s cases.
The county’s rate of new cases was the second-highest in the state last week. This is up from the fourth highest over the prior week. Similarly, the average daily number of covid patients hospitalized doubled last week over the previous period, the sixth-highest increase in the state. While the six patients hospitalized on a daily basis is well within the county’s ability to handle the cases, the trend is worrisome according to local hospitals. All of the hospitalized patients in the county are unvaccinated.
The “PCR” rate, or percentage of covid tests returning positive, is still low at 5.8%, it is the fifth-highest in the state and nearly 4 1/2 times the rate from two weeks ago.
Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidance on masks, recommending that some fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they live in areas with “substantial” or “high” levels of community transmission. Monroe County is one of the few places in the Northeast United States, having now moved back into the “substantial community transmission” level.
“This was not a decision that was taken lightly,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, acknowledging that people are “tired and frustrated.”
The CDC said it acted on new data showing that, while vaccinated people still account for a small amount of risk, in rare cases they can get infected with the delta variant and spread the virus to others.
“The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates and among unvaccinated people,” she said. And “the associated illness, suffering and death could have been avoided.”
Only about 42% of Monroe County residents are fully vaccinated – a number that has not moved much in the last two weeks.
According to the CDC’s Vaccine Finder, there are 50 locations within or near Monroe County to obtain a vaccine. Vaccines are free, and some ride share services are even offering free rides to and from vaccine providers (to find out about free Lyft Vaccine Rides CLICK HERE, for Uber call (855) 921-0033).
In our top of the mountain community, there are eight providers with vaccines in stock (a * means you can walk in to get a vaccine without an appointment, call or click for hours and more information):
- *CVS Pharmacy, 570-643-7286, Pa-940 & Pa-115, Blakeslee, Tobyhanna Twp, PA 18610
- LVPG Pocono Family Med Tobyhanna, By Appointment, 100 Community Dr #102, Coolbaugh Twp, Tobyhanna, PA 18466
- *Rite Aid, 570-894-0571, 674 Pa-196 Ste 14, Coolbaugh Twp, Tobyhanna, PA 18466
- *CVS Pharmacy, 570-595-7131, 958 Pa-390, Cresco, PA 18326
- *Walmart, 570-895-4700, 3271 Pa-940, Mt Pocono, PA 18344
- *Rite Aid, 570-839-3797, 3382 Pa-940, Mt Pocono, PA 18344
- *ShopRite Pharmacy, (570) 839-5340, 3430 Pa-940 Suite 102, Mt Pocono, PA 18344
- *CVS Pharmacy, 570-839-6670, 3016 Pa-940, Pocono Summit, PA 18346
In an interview reported last week by CNBC, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the most effective way to stop the growing rates of infection is by getting more people vaccinated. “The easiest and best and most effective way that we can prevent the emergence of a new variant and crush the already existing delta variant is to get everyone vaccinated.” In the U.S., 99.5% of Covid deaths are now among unvaccinated people, Fauci said, “that is a statistic that speaks for itself.”